The view west from Hartside
The view west from Hartside

Joining our party will give you a voice and the chance to offer your time and energy for causes that matter to you. Take a look at the Labour Party manifesto (click on the image below) for the General Election in 2017. What’s not to like?


Also, if you would like to read the finding of an independent charity, Cumbria Community Foundation, which focuses on the highlighting some of the persistent problems in our county click on the Cumbria Revealed report below.

To find our more about Labour policies on a whole range of issues, click HERE

Labour manifesto: Summary of key points

Key policies

  • Scrap student tuition fees
  • Nationalisation of England’s nine water companies.
  • Re-introduce the 50p rate of tax on the highest earners (above £123,000)
  • Income tax rate 45p on £80,000 and above
  • More free childcare, expanding free provisions for two, three and four year olds
  • Guarantee triple lock for pensioner incomes
  • End to zero hours contracts
  • Hire 10,000 new police officers, 3,000 new firefighters
  • Moves to charge companies a levy on salaries above £330,000
  • Deliver rail electrification “including in Wales and the South West”.

Renationalisation

  • Bring the railways back into public ownership as franchises expire
  • Regain control of energy supply networks through the alteration of operator license conditions, and transition to a publicly owned, decentralised energy system
  • Replace water system with a network of regional publicly-owned water companies
  • Reverse the privatisation of Royal Mail “at the earliest opportunity”
  • Create at least one publicly-owned energy company in every region of the UK, with public control of the transmission and distribution grids.

The economy

  • Extra tax take in total £48.6bn
  • £6.4bn from income tax from the top 5%
  • Extra £19.4bn from corporation tax
  • £6.5bn from tax avoidance programme
  • Income tax rate 45p on earnings of £80,000 and above – and 50p to be reintroduced on earnings above £123,000
  • Boost wages of 5.7m people earning less than minimum wage to £10 an hour by 2020
  • Create a National Transformation Fund that will invest £250bn over 10 years in upgrading the economy
  • Deliver universal superfast broadband availability by 2022
  • A National Investment Bank as part of a plan to provide £250bn of lending power over the next decade for infrastructure
  • Reinstate the lower small-business corporation tax rate
  • Scrap quarterly reporting for businesses with a turnover of under £85,000.

Workers’ rights

  • An end to zero-hours contracts to guarantee workers a “number of hours each week”
  • Introduce four extra public holidays each year to mark national patron saints’ days
  • Maximum pay ratios of 20:1 to be rolled out in public sector
  • Raise minimum wage to “at least £10 per hour by 2020”
  • Ban unpaid internships
  • “Clamp down on bogus self-employment” and extend rights of employees to all workers – including shared parental pay
  • Guarantee trade unions a right to access workplaces
  • End the public sector pay cap
  • Repeal the Trade Union Act and roll out sectoral collective bargaining, whereby industries can negotiate agreement as a whole
  • Enforce all workers’ rights to trade union representation at work
  • Abolish employment tribunal fees – so that people have access to justice
  • Use public spending power to drive up standards, including only awarding public contracts to companies which recognise trade unions
  • Give all workers equal rights from day one, whether part-time or full-time, temporary or permanent
  • Shifting the burden of proof, so the law assumes a worker is an employee unless the employer can prove otherwise.

Education

  • Reintroduce maintenance grants for university students and abolish university tuition fees
  • A National Education Service for England to incorporate all forms of education
  • Overhaul existing childcare system and extend 30 hours of free childcare to all two year olds
  • Promise to reduce class sizes to “less than 30” for five, six, and seven-year-olds
  • Devolve responsibility for skills to city regions or devolved administrations
  • Free school meals for all primary school children, paid for by removing the VAT exemption on private school fees.

Health and social care

  • Deliver safe staffing levels and reduce waiting lists
  • End hospital car parking charges
  • One million people will be taken off NHS waiting lists by “guaranteeing access to treatment within 18 weeks”
  • Scrap NHS pay cap
  • NHS will receive more than £30bn in extra funding over the next parliament
  • Mental health budgets will be ring-fenced, and Labour will ensure all children in secondary schools have access to a counselling service.

Social security and pensions

  • Cuts to bereavement support payment will be scrapped, as will the bedroom tax and the “punitive sanctions regime”
  • Reinstate housing benefit for under-21s
  • Guarantee state pension triple lock, as well as the winter fuel allowance and free bus passes
  • “Rejects” proposal to increase state pension age further
  • A commitment to “protect the pensions of UK citizens living overseas in the EU or further afield”.

Energy

  • Ensure that 60% of the UK’s energy comes from zero-carbon or renewable sources by 2030
  • A ban on fracking
  • Nuclear power “will continue to be part of the UK energy supply”
  • Introduce an immediate emergency energy price cap to ensure the average dual fuel household energy bill remains below £1,000 per year
  • Maintaining access to the EU’s internal energy market and retaining access to nuclear research programme Euratom will be a priority in Brexit negotiations.

Housing

  • Build over one million more homes, with at least half for social rent
  • Homeowners willbe offered interest free loans to improve their properties
  • Guarantee help to buy funding until 2027 and give locals buying their first home “first dibs on new homes built in their area”
  • Legislate to ban letting agency fees for tenants, and look at giving the Mayor of London power to give London renters “additional security”
  • Make 4,000 additional homes available for rough sleepers to end homelessness.

Transport

  • Extend high speed rail link HS2 to Scotland
  • Build a new Brighton main line for the SouthEast
  • Build Crossrail 2 – to run north-south through London between Hertfordshire and Surrey – “to ensure our capital continues to prosper”
  • Recognise the need for additional airport capacity in the South East (but there’s no mention of Heathrow).

Families and communities

  • 30 hours free childcare to be extended to two-year-olds and “some” to one-year-olds
  • An end to the so-called “rape clause” – part of the policy of restricting child tax credits to the first two children in a family. It means mothers who have a third child as a result of rape can be exempted, but would have to provide evidence in order to do so
  • A review into reforming council tax and business rates, in favour of options such as a land value tax
  • A national review of local pubs to examine the causes for their large-scale demise, as well as establishing a joint taskforce that will consider future sustainability.

Democracy

  • Labour opposes a second Scottish independence referendum
  • Establish a Scottish Investment Bank, with £20bn for local projects and Scotland’s small businesses, creating work and stimulating the economy
  • Build on the Development Bank of Wales using more than £10bn from Labour’s new National Investment Bank
  • Continue to fully support the principles and structures inherent within the Good Friday Agreement

Foreign policy/Defence

  • Support the renewal of the Trident submarine system
  • Work with international partners and the UN on multilateral disarmament “to create a nuclear-free world”
  • Commit to the Nato benchmark of spending at least 2% of GDP on defence
  • Will have a complete strategic defence and security review
  • Insulate the homes of disabled veterans for free.

Migration

  • Labour will not “scapegoat migrants” and will not set a cap on immigration, describing targets as “bogus”
  • International students will not be included in immigration numbers, but the party will crack down on “fake colleges”.
  • Labour believes in the “reasonable management of migration” but “will not make false promises on immigration numbers”.

Brexit

  • Accept the EU referendum result and “build a close new relationship with the EU” prioritising jobs and and workers’ rights
  • Guarantee the rights of EU nationals living in the UK and work to “secure reciprocal rights” for UK citizens elsewhere in the EU
  • A “meaningful” role for Parliament throughout Brexit negotiations
  • Scrap Conservatives’ Brexit White Paper and replace with “fresh negotiating priorities” with strong emphasis on retaining the benefits of the single market and customs union
  • Reject no deal as a viable option and if needs be negotiate transitional arrangements “to avoid a cliff-edge for the UK economy”
  • Keep EU-derived laws on workers’ rights, equality, consumer rights and environmental protections
  • Maintain UK’s leading research role by seeking to stay part of Horizon 2020 and its successor programmes
  • Seek to maintain membership of European organisations which offer benefits to the UK such as Euratom and the European Medicines Agency
  • Will not allow Brexit to be used as an excuse to undercut UK farmers and flood Britain’s food chain with cheap and inferior produce.

Local Dimensions

Education

The Tories have declared their intention to permit new grammar schools and to allow religious state schools to select entirely on the basis of parents’ religious affiliation (currently it is up to 50%).  The Labour Party knows that no parents want their children going to a secondary modern, and recognises that any community is stronger and more cohesive if children meet those with different views (religious and other) from themselves.  There is no intention to close our one existing grammar school, but to ensure the best education for every child in Penrith and the Border. We are more concerned about cuts to education expenditure.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has backed-up an analysis by a group of 5,000 headteachers who have provided a compelling analysis that, despite the Government’s promise of £1.3 billion extra cash, there will be a real-terms cut of £1.7 billion by 2020 compared with five years earlier.

The economic illiteracy of the Conservative Government is clearly illustrated by their disastrous education policies which have squandered millions on their ideological vanity projects. Many of these disasters have been a consequence of their intent on vandalising our state school system whilst favouring more ‘privatised’ approaches such as Academies and Free Schools.

Instead of wasting millions on failing projects (Free schools and academisation) the Government should be seeking solutions to current difficulties in recruiting and retaining teachers discouraged and demoralised by under-funding, increased bureaucracy, larger class sizes, fewer teaching assistants, a shortage of basic resources and narrowed curriculum that fails to properly provide for the wide spectrum of talents and abilities of pupils. A good start would be to properly fund our state sector schools.

We would encourage anyone interested in getting the true picture of budget cuts to our local schools to simply LOOK HERE where you will find how your local school has been affected. Also, local parents have a Facebook page, Penrith and Carlisle Parents Against School Cuts.

Agriculture

What will happen when EU subsidies and the follow-on commitment to 2020 have ended?  We have a Conservative Government that thinks that  hill farms should give up on farming and become places for butterflies while those with ‘the big fields’ should do farming, a level of ignorance that is painful to behold.  It is absolutely crucial that farmers, their friends and families become involved in helping to develop a robust Labour policy on agriculture, including pressure on the Brexit negotiators, a clear plan for the uplands which respects our hill-farming traditions, and recognition of the key importance of all food producers.

The following actions would make a big difference:

  • Secure continued EU market access allowing British farmers and food producers to continue to sell their products on the Continent.
  • Protect British farmers and rural economy by ensuring Britain continues to set the highest standards in food quality and welfare.
  • Not allow Brexit to be used as an excuse to undercut British farmers and flood Britain’s food chain with cheap and inferior produce.
  • Expand the role of the Groceries Code Adjudicator to ensure suppliers and consumers get a fair deal.
  • Reconfigure funds for farming and fishing to support smaller traders, local economies, community benefits and sustainable practices.
  • Allow EU workers employed across farming, fishing and food manufacturing to remain in the UK, and reinstate the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme.
  • Reinstate the Agricultural Wages Board to underpin employment standards and wages.
  • Champion sustainable farming, food and fishing by investing in and promoting skills, technology, market access and innovation.
  • Protect bees by prohibiting neonicotinoids as soon as the UK’s EU relationship allows the government to do so.
  • Work with farmers and foresters to plant a million trees of native species to promote biodiversity and better flood management.
  • Establish a science innovation fund, working with farmers and fisheries, that will include support for our small-scale fishing fleet.
  • Promote cruelty-free animal husbandry and consult on ways to ensure better enforcement of agreed standards.
  • Cease the badger cull.
  • Maintain the bans on fox hunting, deer hunting and hare coursing.
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